Study of good practices and exchange of experience with rehabilitation centers for children with various diseases in Italy

As part of the implementation of the project BGLD-1.004-0001 "Rehabilitation center for children with oncohematological diseases", implemented by the Municipality of Kostinbrod under grant contract No. BGLD-1.004-0001-C01, under the Program "Local Development, Poverty Reduction and improved inclusion of vulnerable groups", financed by the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2014-2021 in the period from 09 to 12 July 2022 part of the Rehabilitation Center team visited the Dynamo Camp in Italy.

The visit was part of the activity "Research of good practices and exchange of experience with rehabilitation centers for children with various diseases, including cancer, in Norway and Italy".

During the group's visit, extensive information was provided on the construction, financing, maintenance and overall provision of the activity, material base and equipment for providing the necessary care, activities and therapeutic activity.

The Dynamo Camp Association was founded in 2007 by the Dynamo Foundation, a venture philanthropy foundation created in 2003 by Vincenzo Manes, who is its chairman. The Dynamo Camp itself was opened in the summer of 2007 and is the only Italian recreational therapy structure designed to receive children whose lives are compromised by illness, through play, sports activities and relaxation, fun and social relations in a protected natural environment. Dynamo Camp is intended for children with serious and chronic diseases, mainly oncohematological, neurological and diabetes.

Dynamo Camp's mission is to offer these children a period of rest and fun free of charge and to contribute to the development of confidence in their own abilities and potential. Dynamo Camp offers programs designed for the whole family, and since 2012, sessions dedicated entirely to healthy siblings (Sibling Camp) with the clear awareness that the disease does not affect only the sick child, but the whole family. We are working on programs for children and adolescents with illnesses, for siblings, children and teenagers, and for entire families. Participating in the camp allows users to chat with others in a similar situation and experience carefree moments away from the responsibilities of everyday life.

All guests are admitted free of charge, throughout the year, for holidays of a maximum of 9 days, organized in 18 sessions. Users are referred to the camp mainly from hospitals in Rome, Genoa, Florence and Turin, with which the team has a permanent relationship. A large part of the visitors also declare their desire to visit the camp by registering on the waiting list.

About 1,200 children pass through the camp within a year. After a medical examination, the necessary medical and specific care is provided - medicines, procedures, diet and rest, with the main emphasis being placed on activities adapted to the capabilities of each child. Focused on different types of arts and activities, the activities aim to give children satisfaction from what they have achieved and to strengthen and further develop their inner conviction in their own strengths. Thus, children can try to be actors, dancers, radio presenters, singers, circus performers, artists, can participate in various sports, regardless of the physical limitations they live with. The slogan of the center is "right to happiness".

Each child leaves the center with a professionally produced video of their stay.

Dynamo Camp was built with European funds. The state participates in the maintenance of the center through preferential prices of energy carriers. The main funds are raised through a foundation that manages the center, by raising funds from private donors, corporations and foundations, renting out buildings, selling own brand products.

The service is also provided to children from other countries — Estonia, Belarus, Serbia, Spain, Iraq, Jordan, Dubai, Morocco.

The unique opportunity to see on the spot the activity of a center already built and functioning for more than a decade to provide a service similar in content and purpose, is of key importance for the further development and confirmation of this innovative social activity for Bulgaria and the region. During the meetings and conversations, a significant similarity was found in the work programs between the Rehabilitation Center for children with oncohematological diseases and Dynamo Camp. As a good practice, the extremely wide variety of activities can be taken into account, some of which can be additionally included in the work programs. Another good practice is to work with children undergoing active treatment, but this in turn requires the mandatory 24-hour presence of qualified medical personnel. In Dynamo Camp there is a very good organization of work, and the activity of volunteers is of particular importance.

Although short-lived - only within three days - the meeting held is a first, but essential step in the upcoming interaction and cooperation of the centers to provide the necessary support to children and families charged with the difficult task of restoring the health and life prospects of their children.

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